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Gemma Frisius Fund

Gemma Frisius Fund KU Leuven is a seed capital fund that aims to stimulate the creation and growth of university related spin-off companies.

 

A partner in spin-off creationGemma Frisius

Gemma Frisius Fund (GFF) is a seed capital fund, established in 1997 as a joint venture between KU Leuven, KBC Group and BNP Paribas Group. The objective of the fund is to stimulate the creation and growth of KU Leuven spin-off companies by:

  • providing them with seed capital in the very early phases of their development;
  • combining the research and technology transfer expertise of the university with the financial and investment expertise of the two banks.
     

 

Gemma Frisius Fund

The Gemma Frisius Fund provides seed capital in the early phases of the development of innovative, research-based spin-off companies. Investment is not restricted to a specific technology domain. Every opportunity in which the knowledge, technology or intellectual property of KU Leuven can be exploited in a spin-off company is eligible. Since the establishment of the fund in 1997, an extensive portfolio has been built up.

KU Leuven Research & Development (LRD) also has an extensive network of local and international investors and business angels, whose assistance is often sought to raise a higher starting capital from a strategically selected consortium of investors. Moreover, these investors often participate in subsequent capital rounds.

 

Investment policy

  • GFF's scope is not restricted to a specific technology domain. Instead it considers every spin-off opportunity where technology, know-how or intellectual property developed at KU Leuven is involved. The investment period typically ranges from seven to ten years;
  • As a seed capital fund, GFF mainly focuses on first round financing. However, in order to support a spin-off company's growth during the initial years, GFF also provides second round financing, if necessary, in co-operation with other external partners;
  • Capital is invested in exchange for capital shares;
  • GFF offers active guidance and support in the growth process of the spin-off company and is usually also involved in the company's board of directors.
  • As an evergreen fund, GFF acts as a long term shareholder and partner.

 

Operation

The operation of GFF is strongly interlinked with the activities of LRD. Most opportunities are presented to GFF via the network of LRD. The operational units of GFF consist of two boards: the advisory board and the board of directors. The advisory board meets on a regular basis. It is responsible for the evaluation of the spin-off ideas and assists in the (further) fine-tuning of the business plan. Given the innovative nature of the products/services, the finalisation of the business model often requires several rounds of interaction. Next, the final business plan is presented for approval to the board of directors, which consists of members of LRD, BNP Paribas Fortis Private Equity and KBC Bank.

Through an extensive network of national and international contacts, the GFF and its partners look for potential commercial partners during the start-up and initial growth phase of the spin-off company. If necessary, the GFF contacts external funds and/or venture capitalists.

The companies in which the GFF has invested, can be found under ‘Gemma Frisius Fund: Portfolio’.